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“A good day out”

Topsail Charters - Day Tours
Ranked #1 of 4 Tours in Maldon
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: River Cruises on board historic sailing barges including cream tea cruises, lunch and evening sails, day trips. Finalist in Visit England Best Small Attraction 2015.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase
Reviewed 21 August 2017

We joined the 6 hour Suffolk Rivers Cruise from Ipswich to the mouth of the Orwell and Stour rivers and back on board the Thistle with its friendly crew.

A departure at high tide obviated the need to use the lock to exit Ipswich Marina. Once clear of the port sail was set and we proceeded at variable speed downstream until opposite Landguard Fort / Dovercourt before turning round for a motorised return to Ipswich, which was reached at low tide, so use of the lock was necessary.

On the way out there appeared to be little wildlife to see, but on the return with the tide out, the mudflats abounded with birdlife seeking their "tea". We sat on the same side of the boat both ways so effectively took in each bank separately. At Felixstowe a very large container ship was being seemingly unloaded and loaded at the same time.

The on board prepared catering was well judged with morning tea / coffee, a two course lunch with tea or coffee and afternoon tea or coffee with cake. A cash bar was also available.

Seating is rudimentary and not in oversupply, although everyone found somewhere to sit to eat their lunch. The toilets are modern. Needing to move about the boat and up and down steps It may not be the best of trips for those with limited mobility.

I believe the initial greeting and safety talk might be better delivered from the wheelhouse rather than in the middle of the passengers, where some are always behind the speaker.

Although the weather was pleasant enough I would suggest it is not a shorts, t-shirt and flip flops trip, rather be prepared for it to feel a little chilly if the sun goes in. As most were outside for the whole trip a little sun screen for the face may be worth bringing along. A pair of binoculars too.

Because of the length of the trip I would suggest it perhaps better for small groups than couples, unless you can find something to talk about to each other for six hours!

Overall a pleasant day out, which I would recommend to others to experience.

Date of experience: August 2017
1  Thank Gerald B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (134)
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"tower bridge"
in 8 reviews
"ploughman's lunch"
in 8 reviews
"the galley"
in 7 reviews
"well stocked bar"
in 6 reviews
"afternoon tea"
in 11 reviews
"below deck"
in 5 reviews
in 11 reviews
"safety briefing"
in 5 reviews
"hour trip"
in 6 reviews
"the river"
in 24 reviews
in 5 reviews
"barge trip"
in 6 reviews
in 5 reviews
"birthday present"
in 5 reviews
"wedding reception"
in 5 reviews
"seafood platter"
in 4 reviews
"cream tea"
in 8 reviews

31 - 35 of 134 reviews

Reviewed 17 August 2017

My wife, me and two of our friends went cruising tonight. Lovely restored wooden barge, very clean. Nice relaxing cruise, plenty of seating. We had a ploughman's on board which was very nice, fresh ingredients the ham and cheese were very nice. The below decks eating area was very clean as were the toilets. All the crew were very friendly and polite. The weather was very good, warm with a good sunset. Recommended

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank F7915QDpeterp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2017

Spent a wonderful afternoon sailing on the Hydrogen Barge - 10th August - from Maldon up river. Had a lovely Afternoon Tea, met some friendly people. Staff were very friendly and approachable.
If you fancy a couple of hours of peace and tranquility then board the Hydrogen.

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank karennN1934MH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2017

My family of 13 took on this trip to radio Caroline for my 70 th birthday from Brightlingsea on the Thame barge hydrogen.
We were looked after all day with food, snacks tea. Biscuits .and lunch.
The crew were great.
The Caroline ship was very interesting and nostalgic we were taken on board and showed around by a DJ I was interviewed on air which was a experance .
I can really reccomend them even the little grand children loved it.and keep talking about the history and trip.

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank wakeboard1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 August 2017

Spent this afternoon gently watching smaller boats drift past, while under sail . The cream tea was a delight. The staff excellent. Very helpful and formative . Will definitely be booking again. Thank you . The Gray party.

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank Sharon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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